Sign up now!
Don't show this again
Download the report!Continue to Site >
or wait 7 secs

Thank you for confirming your subscription!

(And remember, if ever you want to change your email preferences or unsubscribe, just click on the links at the bottom of any email.)

We’re glad you’re enjoying Pig Health Today.
Access is free but you’ll need to register to view more content.
Already registered? Sign In
Tap to download the app


Collect articles and features into your own report to read later, print or share with others

Create a New Report


Read Later

Create a new report

Report title (required) Brief description (optional)
follow us

You must be logged in to edit your profile.

Favorites Read Later My Reports PHT Special Reports
Pig Health Today is equipped with some amazing (and free) tools for organizing and sharing content, as well as creating your own magazines and special reports. To access them, please register today.
Sponsored by Zoetis

Pig Health Today | Sponsored by Zoetis


Protein by any other name

While it’s true that meat and poultry aren’t the only protein sources in the American diet, they have dominated over the years. But the movement toward protein alternatives, particularly plant-based products, is growing.

The 2017 Power of Meat study, conducted for the Food Marketing Institute and the North American Meat Institute, shows that 39% more food items carry protein claims today versus 4 years ago. But that doesn’t necessarily mean meat, and it’s not driven by vegetarians or vegans.

According to a 2016 HealthFocus International study, only 17% of Americans said they eat a plant-based diet either exclusively or predominantly, but another 60% reported cutting back on meat.

Millennials are a factor here, as the 60% responding to the Power of Meat study said that meeting protein goals does not require meat. Three out of four reported serving meat alternatives once a week or more, and that includes fish/seafood, eggs, beans/lentils, other plant-based products and seeds/nuts.

Millennials’ dollars go to items that are fun, different and easy to prepare; six out of 10 said adding variety was the reason for including protein alternatives (versus 52% of general respondents). Health was the second reason — 44% of millennials and 38% of general respondents.

Americans’ perception of plant protein has improved, according to the International Food Information Council’s (IFIC) 2016 Food and Health Survey. One-fifth of respondents view plant protein as more healthful than they did the year before; 8% view it as less healthful. Meanwhile, 12% of consumers perceive animal protein as more healthful, and 15% see it as less healthful.

Notably, tech innovators — Google’s Sergey Brin, Amazon’s Jeff Baso, Microsoft’s Bill Gates — are all funding protein-alternative projects. Their reasons vary, but among them is an attempt to meet long-term global food needs, as well as stabilizing the environment.

“There are people who really think the food system is broken and that there are different ways, using technology, to re-invent the system,” says Mary Shelman, president of Shelman Group.  She points to beef made of tissue culture, which a few years ago cost $300 to make one burger. “It has now dropped to $11 and that’s not even at the pilot scale yet,” she adds.

Impossible Foods, created by former Stanford biochemist Patrick Brown, makes meat and dairy products from plants, including the Impossible Burger. The key ingredient is heme, an iron-containing molecule found in animal muscle. Brown’s company found a way to make heme using plants, allowing the burger to reportedly look and taste like ground beef. It even sizzles on the grill, browns and oozes fat when it cooks, the company reports.

Traditional meat companies are branching out, too. For example, Tyson Foods recently bought a minority stake in Beyond Meat, calling it an opportunity to get exposure to a fast-growing segment of the protein market. Beyond Meat is a pea-protein burger that not only sizzles like meat but also “bleeds” beet juice.

At the close of 2017, Beyond Meat rolled out Beyond Sausage, a plant-based alternative to pork sausage in original bratwurst, hot Italian and sweet Italian varieties. The company is marketing the product as “featuring more protein and less fat than meat-based pork sausages.”

The key is that people all over the world, and especially Americans, value protein and are eating more of it. This means there’s room for both meat and plant-based proteins to flourish, Steve Walton, general manager of HealthFocus International, told attendees of the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and food exposition, as reported by Meat + Poultry.

“People like to dabble,” he said. “Maybe 5% to 10% of people are rejecting meat, but it’s a niche market and not a mainstream one.”



Posted on February 25, 2018

  • Shifting consumer trends require a more open dialogue

    Baby boomers have long dominated the retail marketplace — and they’ve been loyal meat customers. But that dynamic is shifting as millennial and younger shoppers, who are less committed to meat as their go-to protein, are starting to outnumber boomers.

  • The eve of disruption: How changes in retail and consumer trends might affect pork consumption—and production

    In this special report, Pig Health Today looks at disruptions in the consumer and retail landscapes and how they could forever change the US pork industry and the way pigs are raised.

  • Product claims = more sales

    Production claims on meat and poultry product labels are generating more sales volume and more dollars, according to a Nielsen survey.

  • Make way for meal kits

    A Nielsen survey  reports that 25% of US shoppers purchased meal kits in 2016.

You must be logged in to edit your profile.

Share It
US producers and veterinarians have seen an influx of different types of influenza viruses in the last 10 to 15 years, and that is a major reason why influenza is more difficult to control.

Click an icon to share this information with your industry contacts.
Google Translate is provided on this website as a reference tool. However, Poultry Health Today and its sponsor and affiliates do not guarantee in any way the accuracy of the translated content and are not responsible for any event resulting from the use of the translation provided by Google. By choosing a language other than English from the Google Translate menu, the user agrees to withhold all liability and/or damage that may occur to the user by depending on or using the translation by Google.